Brooklyn District Attorney: 23 Arrested For Selling Untaxed Cigarettes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Nearly two dozen people have been arrested for allegedly buying and distributing  untaxed cigarettes, evading over $2 million in city and state taxes, Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes announced Wednesday.

Sources tell 1010 WINS the arrests were the result of a sting operation run in cooperation with the cigarette industry.

1010 WINS’ Juliet Papa reports

During Operation Buttlegger, undercover officers sold over 550 cases of untaxed cartons of cigarettes, with a retail value of $4.29 million.

The bootleg smokes were apparently sold at vastly undervalued prices to local bodegas in Brooklyn.

The defendants face a slew of charges including possession of untaxed cigarettes, trademark counterfeiting, tax violations and criminal possession of forged instruments.

Two other defendants are also charged with robbery and grand larceny for allegedly carjacking a shipment of black market cigarettes from an informant.

Hynes said over a half a billion dollars in tax revenue is lost each year in the sale of untaxed cigarettes.

“The loss of tax revenue from the sale and purchase of untaxed cigarettes has reached a level which is nothing short of scandalous,” he said.

  • Kat

    Why is the Brooklyn DA only investigating NY State tax evasion? Shouldn’t Cuomo be doing something about this!

    • Xchecker

      NYS just raises taxes, that’s why the state motto is “Excelsior,” Latin for “ever upward.”

      If the state fails to collect half the cigarette tax they are supposed to, then maybe the governor and all his commissioners should only get half their SALARIES until they figure out how to do their jobs.

  • Veeja

    What do you expect? High taxes leads to this tax evasion!

  • The Facts

    If the tax was reasonable, this would not have happened. The blame lies with the greedy politicians.

  • mak

    What kind of puritanical society are we living in?

  • NYC is for rich and rich alone

    OMG what a crime we have Public school teachers molesting our kids but we will let them .Lets go get those people with illegal cigarettes who are selling them for the price they should be before we stuck our nose in and raised the taxes so they cost like $10 a pack.Look what we did to price of gas with the taxes and the way they put OTB out of business with the same high tax rate.And do not forget the water bill.

  • RoySays

    Another Russian Mafia organized crime scam…….convict them and deport them

    • Rob say squat

      Wow how wrong can someone be.You really have no clue.

  • Dee Trooth

    Meaning that Bloomberg will be remembered as the NY mayor who brought prohibition of a sort.

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